Danielle Elizabeth Piper nitsiyihkason.
I am a multimedia artist and graduate of the Alberta University of the Arts, where I majored in Drawing and was awarded my B.F.A. with Distinction in May 2020. In 2022, I received the Indigenous Artist Award at the Calgary Legacy Leaders in Art Awards by Calgary Arts Development. Though a lifelong resident of Mohkinst’sis, I am a band member of Cold Lake First Nations and am of nehiyaw, Métis, and denesuline ancestry.
My artistic practice...
is rooted in traditional craft techniques and articulated in a mixture of nêhiyawêwin—my ancestral language—and English. I document and reflect on my own life using both languages together as an expression of colonized experiences.
At times this takes the form of traditional drawing and painting or creative writing; other times, these reflections become crafted objects or sound and video pieces. I have a love for all fibre arts and a fascination with the works of my grandmothers. For me, the labour of craft echoes the labour of reclaiming my language and cultural identity and the labour required of us to build mutual understanding.
After serving as Indigenous Artist in residence for the Calgary Public Library in 2022, I have found a deep love for teaching workshops and connecting with youth about culture and storytelling. I work to honour my ancestors and share specific knowledge with a broader audience. I acknowledge the legacy of residential schooling and the impacts on my family and our greater community—an important aspect of my art.
As an artist, my foremost duty is to my ancestors and the work that they have done to survive and pass down the knowledge that we all need to move forward in a good way together. Peyakwan. We must continue the work.